Updated July 12, 2018
Santander is looking to shake up the balance transfer market by offering a 0% intro APR on balance transfers for 18 billing cycles if taken within the first 90 days of account opening (after, 14.49% to 24.49% Variable APR). In order to get this rate, you have to apply for the Sphere® Credit Card from Santander and transfer debt from another bank to Santander (you cannot transfer debt from another Santander product). In addition, you will have to pay a balance transfer fee at $10 or 4% of the amount of each transaction, whichever is greater. Depending upon the interest rate that you are currently paying, this may be worth it, but beware there are cards with lower or intro $0 balance transfer fees.
Take note that this card is only available to people who live in: CT, DC, DE, ME, MD, MA, NH, NJ, NY, PA, RI, or VT.
They also offer rewards and a bonus off for your spending, which you should avoid, because interest will start accruing right away.
If you have high interest rate credit card debt, this could be an excellent option to pay off your debt faster. Just make sure you complete your balance transfer as quickly as possible. We also recommend that you set up an automatic payment, so that you always pay on time. If you are 60 days late, you can lose your 0% rate and be subject to punitive pricing.
- Regular Purchase APR
- 14.49% to 24.49% Variable
- Intro Purchase APR
- 0% intro APR on purchases for the first 18 billing cycles
- Intro BT APR
- 0% intro APR on balance transfers for 18 billing cycles if taken within the first 90 days of account opening
- Annual fee
- Rewards Rate
- 1 reward point for every dollar spent, with no limits
- Balance Transfer Fee
- $10 or 4% of the amount of each transaction, whichever is greater
Who is Santander?
Although small in the United States, Santander is an enormous bank globally. It is headquartered in Spain, and rapidly grew throughout Latin America and Europe. The bank has over $1.25 trillion of assets globally, and dominates the Spanish market. You don’t have to walk far in Madrid or Barcelona to see the bright red of Santander.
They are also a big sponsor of Formula 1, and the bank is run by a close-knit family.
Santander has a very aggressive reputation in banking circles. I used to work in Europe, and Santander was viewed as a very tough competitor. They would use very strong sales incentives, so customers would regularly be on the receiving end of a hard sales pitch. They would also take a much longer term view compared to American and English banks. Whereas most American banks want to make money within 1-2 years on a new customer, Santander would be willing to wait longer. That meant they would usually fund much more aggressive switching bonuses.
Santander has purchased Sovereign Bank, a regional bank in the northeast. They have recently rebranded the business to the global red brand, and are looking to expand. Credit cards is a great way to grow quickly outside of their normal geographic footprint, so you can expect to see more offers coming from them.
So, Santander is a large bank that won’t be going anywhere soon. However, they are an aggressive bank with strong profit motives. So, you shouldn’t be afraid to take advantage of the sign-on bonus offers. But, you should be careful when the bonus offer ends.
The Balance Transfer Offer
The balance transfer offer is very straight-forward — 0% intro APR on balance transfers for 18 billing cycles if taken within the first 90 days of account opening (after, 14.49% to 24.49% Variable APR). There is a balance transfer fee at $10 or 4% of the amount of each transaction, whichever is greater
In order to be approved, you need to have excellent/good credit. You will also need a debt burden that can handle the debt. You calculate debt burden by taking your total monthly expenditures (mortgage + auto payment + student loan payments + credit card monthly payments + any other credit bureau debt) and divide that by your monthly gross income. Your best chance of being approved is with a debt burden below 40%. You have to tell Santander your income when you apply.
As a general rule, you do not want to spend on a credit card with a balance transfer. There are two main reasons for this.
First, the goal of a balance transfer is to pay off your debt. So, if you start spending on the credit card, there is a big risk that you won’t pay off debt during the promotional period, and you will end up in worse shape at the end of the promotional period. Just put the card in the freezer and forget about it.
The second reason is the trick played on people by the banks. If you have a balance transfer on a credit card, than you no longer have a grace period on purchases. So, interest will be charged on any purchases, at the standard purchase interest rate, from the moment you make the purchase.
If you are looking for rewards, there are better products out there. This card earns 1 reward point for every dollar spent, with no limits. To find a better cash back credit card, you can use our cash back tool.
If you have credit card debt that you can’t pay off in the next 6 months, a balance transfer could be a great option. If you’re looking for rewards or to make a big purchase, there are other, better credit cards available.
If your debt is not with Chase, and you can pay off the debt in 15 months or less, you should consider Chase Slate®. It has 0% Intro APR on Purchases for 15 months and 0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers for 15 months (16.99% - 25.74% Variable APR, afterwards), and an Intro $0 on transfers made within 60 days of account opening. After that: Either $5 or 5%, whichever is greater. This can be a better deal than Santander.
The information related to the Chase Slate® has been collected by MagnifyMoney and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication.
Another option is the Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card – 21 Month Balance Transfer Offer which provides more time to pay off debt. This card offers an intro 0%* for 21 months on Balance Transfers*, afterwards the APR will be 14.99% - 24.99%* (Variable). The balance transfer fee is 5% of each balance transfer; $5 minimum. For example, transferring $10,000 to this card will incur a $500 fee. That’s $100 more than Santander’s offer and something to consider.
If it is going to take much longer, than this card can be a great option to dramatically reduce the cost of your debt and get out of debt faster. Just make sure you don’t spend on the card, you pay on time and you get the transfer done within the first 30 days. This offer and/or promotion may have since changed, expired, or is no longer available.
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Get $150 sign-up bonus and unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase. 0% Intro APR for 15 Months after that 14.74% - 24.74% (V).